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Delaware Abortion Laws

Abortion is regulated in every U.S. state, which often includes the licensing requirements of providers, restrictions on late-term abortion, and parental consent mandates. Delaware abortion laws are somewhat restrictive, requiring a 24 hour waiting period following written consent and full explanation of procedure and the requirement that abortion providers be licensed medical doctors.

The following chart lists the main provisions of Delaware's abortion laws, while a more detailed description follows. See FindLaw's Reproductive Rights section to learn more.

Code Section Tit. 11 §654, Tit. 24 §1766; Tit. 24 §§1780-1795
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion By drugs or act done with intent to cause termination of pregnancy
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion Continuation of pregnancy would result in death or injury to mother; mental and/or physical retardation of child or pregnancy result of rape or incest or unlawful sexual intercourse, but must be performed within first 20 weeks
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion Felony; maximum fine of $5,000 and imprisonment 2 to 10 years
Consent Requirements 24 hour waiting period following written consent and full explanation of procedure; if unmarried and under 18 or mentally ill or incompetent, consent of parent
Residency Requirements for Patients 120 days before procedure unless employed in state or patient of state-licensed M.D. prior to conception or medical emergency
Physician Licensing Requirements Licensed M.D., national accredited hospital; approval of hospital abortion review board

Who may Perform Abortions?

In Delaware, only a licensed M.D., a doctor or physician, may perform an abortion in a hospital or clinic that has a license to perform abortions. This is to ensure that the abortion is as safe as possible for the mother, and to ensure that medical facilities are immediately available if the abortion puts the mother in danger.

Consent Requirements

For mothers under the age of eighteen or who are mentally ill or incompetent, parental consent is required to have an abortion.

Illegal Abortions

Although Delaware abortion laws can be restrictive, the definition of an illegal abortion is relatively straightforward. Abortions are illegal by definition if a doctor or other person gives the mother any instrument or substance with the intent to give the mother a miscarriage.

Delaware Abortion Laws: Related Resources

Abortion is generally regulated by a mixture of health care laws and criminal laws. Because of the overlap of these legal areas, it may be wise to speak with a qualified attorney. There are many attorneys throughout Delaware with health care law experience who may be able to help you. As well, you may wish to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney in your area, for the criminal law issues related to abortion.

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